Word Vomit Things

Jaded Brain

Okay, I’m trying something new.  I have some acoustic music on but it’s not super moody like I usually go for.  My belly is filled with water and chocolate and my eyes are heavy after a fun and busy weekend away.  My Sunday blues are at an all-time high and my heart is happy.

I ventured up to South Bend for the weekend, exploring and enjoying the place I’m headed to live next month.  It was exciting.  It is exciting.  While I love routine, I feel most alive when I’m about to embark upon a new adventure.  I enjoy the sense of newness and the learning curve that comes with it.  I get excited to think about all the opportunities that may come from it.  I look forward to finding new coffee shops, random dive bars, and new people.

I don’t know where this sense of adventure came from or what ignited it.  I think sometimes when someone witnesses first hand, in a fairly tragic way, the fragility of life it has the potential to push you to chase adventure and all life brings because you’ve seen how fleeting the moments are.  When you’ve seen how quickly moments become memories I think there tends to be more of a sense of urgency behind actions.  Maybe it’s reckless or maybe it’s finally turning off the brain and leading with the gut and the heart.  I don’t quite know. Sometimes I don’t think we really know until we’re on the other side of something and look back, either with pride for following our gut or with a wince and a “Nice one, Dani”.

The more people I meet, the more I’m finding how often we dismiss how freaking cool it is when someone follows their gut and heart and finds something beautiful.  I know it’s going to be a good story when someone says, “I don’t know why I did it. I just knew.”

I’ve mentioned it in a past post but our brains are more reactive to negative stimuli than positive stimuli.  When we think a negative thought or have a negative experience, boom, neuronal connection.  The issue? We keep firing that same damn pathway.  So, some chump in high school calls you the president of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee nearly 14 years ago, right?  Well now you’re highly attuned to the fact that you have a small chest.  You’re then incredibly aware that the women around you are flaunting bra sizes that are much larger than yours.  It just continues and those neurons keep firing and that connection gets deeper and deeper.  Then here you are, 14 years later, still sometimes looking at your ladies in the mirror, disappointedly.  Okay, okay, maybe this isn’t you.  This is most definitely me. However, we all have those things, right?

Our brains are freaking jaded.  Jaded brain. That’s what I’m entitling this post.  Okay, done. Back to what I was saying.  We have jaded brains, man! I used “jaded” once to describe myself and then was asked what it meant.  I had a hard time defining it then and knew I would have trouble doing so in this post. Naturally, I turned to Urban Dictionary.  This is how “jaded” was defined:

“A state of disillusionment and sadness. You see through everything and have no illusions about what is true. So many negative things have happened that it becomes difficult to stay positive about what once gave you hope and joy. Sometimes you might think there’s hope, but then more negative things happen in the aspect you are jaded in, and you become more jaded. This can be felt in many different aspects: Love, friendship, politics, trust, music, objects, etc” (Urbandictionary.com).

Wow, nice buzz kill Dani. I know, I know.  Think about it though.  Venture down this road with me, if you will.  You meet someone.  Sparks fly.  No, not sparks. Lightning strikes.  It’s special.  It’s new. It’s, well, wow.  The moment you start to feel yourself giving into that feeling in your gut and your heart, what does you brain do? Hey, stupid.  Haven’t you been here before?  What happened the last time you gave into this love feeling your dumb heart has? And we listen!  We listen to our brain because our brains are smart.   Our brains are good at keeping us safe.  For example, it’s good when our brain goes, hey that’s a sketchy-looking person over there. Remember that murder podcast you listened to last night? Yeah, let’s not walk down that way.  You crime podcast junkies know what I’m saying.

When it comes to matter of the heart, though, sometimes we can let our sweet, jaded brain rule all.  Yes, of course.  We do need to use our brains because there are logistics we have to think through.  My heart is telling me to go and move somewhere like New Zealand or Ireland or China or Australia but logistically, that’s not making the most sense right now. It’s a balance.  If you’re like me, though, that jaded brain of yours is a loud son of a gun.

A jaded brain can quickly quiet an excited heart.  We’ve all had it.  There’s been something that makes us feel.  Maybe it’s a job, a trip, a move, another human.  We feel and then it triggers our brain.  Then we find ourselves bombarded with thoughts of, Whoa, whoa, whoa, now.  Last time we were here, it didn’t end well for us. We then go into emotional fight or flight mode.  We put up walls.  We sweep our messes away.  We pull back.  We question everything and down past rabbit holes.

You know what an overprotective, jaded brain is? A freaking buzz kill.  Things, opportunities, people come into our lives and we’re excited, but only for a moment until the brain taps us on the shoulder and wags a finger at us.  How quickly our excitement can dissipate in the presence of a brain that’s afraid.

I’m not a “jump in head first” kind of gal, typically.  I listen to my jaded brain more often than not.  My friend Lindsey says I’m in “brain retraining” right now.  I’m learning to find my balance between protecting myself and leaning into what my heart and gut are excited about.  It’s such a fine line.  I find that I can trust my heart and gut when I am in an “emotional flow state”.  You may be familiar with the term, “flow state”.  Often times it’s used to refer to the state in which athletes find themselves.  The rest of the world shuts off.  It’s just the athlete and their game.  Nothing else matters.  They’re not thinking, they’re just playing the game they know how to play.  The more I learn about the situations in which I can trust heart versus brain, the more I realize if I’m in an “emotional flow state” it’s something I should chase.  It’s not about what’s happened in the past when we’re in that state, it’s about what’s happening in the present.

We know how to chase adventure.  It’s engrained in us.  Again, I’ll refer to Wild at Heart and Captivating.  God called us to grand adventures, both men and women alike. We know how to love and love fearlessly.  We know how to take risks.  We know how to be bold.  Our jaded brains sometimes want us to hang back, leave the adventure, keep quiet, not fall in love.  Oh, but God calls us to lives bolder than that.

I don’t really know the answer or the point of this post.  Again, this was more of a selfish “Dani needed to process something,” word-vomity post.  I just know the older I get and the more experiences I have, the more I realize my brain is good for a lot of things, matters of the heart not being one of them.

Gosh, I always have a hard time wrapping up posts like this. There’s not really an end to it; it’s just like, “Okay, I’m done word purging.”  Maybe that’s how I can wrap it up?

The word purge is over.  Until next time.

(That was awful; I’ll work on it).





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